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Unread 10-02-2006, 11:35 AM   #1
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What to "Do" with a pebble stone floor gone wrong?

I’ve attached 3 photos of our new pebble-tiled floor in our basement bathroom.
Our pebble stone tile does not have the random, more natural, look like the photograph from Tim Trimble we found on your site, also attached.
We are very disappointed with the look of the grid and uneven grout colour and it is very painful to walk on, with the stones waving up and down everywhere and out of level by more than ½” over a one foot area. There are low spots in the shower basin, near the corner and beside the drain.

The main thing now is for me to decide on how best to recover and what to do to make it work and I would love to get opinions on what options would be considered best. So far all I can think of is to either 1. Rip it out and start again or 2. Float it over and retile

Then the question after that is whether to use stone pebbles or not.
Is pebble stone so very difficult to work with that it would be almost impossible to make it comfortable to walk on? Costco sell the pebble tile at a good price, and I loved the look and feel of the floor on the sample card at the floor company and the sheets of stone on mesh backing feef comfortable when laid out on a flat floor, but it is completely different when it is installed. Is that necessarily the case?

Last edited by Beko; 10-02-2006 at 11:50 AM.
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Unread 10-02-2006, 12:17 PM   #2
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Where are the pics?
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Unread 10-02-2006, 12:21 PM   #3
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If I understand correctly you have a shower floor with pebbles that is questionable.

I do a number of these every month and while it can be difficult material to get right it should not be uncomfortable to walk on. The "grid" look happens if the sheets are not "blended" and just laid down as they come. i often tear apart the sheets on the margins so that no line is obvious when it is grouted. Many floor we have found easier to set the pebbles one by one rather than on a sheet. The end result seems better but it is more time consuming.

As far as you options it sounds like this floor is not what you want, so I would opt to remove it. It is possible to float over it but then you have drain highth issues and it may be difficult to get flat (within reason). No real easy fix here, unless the pebbles are not well bonded, which is sometimes the case...you may get lucky. Try to remove a few and see.
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Unread 10-02-2006, 09:51 PM   #4
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With a good install you should not feel it on your feet see picture, you also should not see the grids.

Have you got a pic?
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Unread 10-02-2006, 09:58 PM   #5
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There are two of these threads to.

I answered on the first one.
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Unread 10-02-2006, 10:21 PM   #6
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I'll merge your two threads together Beko. Looks like you're having problems posting pichers. Did you try to add them to your post as Attachments?

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Unread 10-03-2006, 08:52 AM   #7
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Many of the pebble manufacturers now make them available in 2 different shapes: square sheets & amoeba or interlocking sheets. The interlocking sheets do a pretty good job of hiding the lines. The square edged sheets are intended to show lines.
You should also be using a small enough notched trowel so that the rocks are firmly against the floor underneath. This will self regulate the height differences. With some brands I have to pre-sort the sheets into into thick sheets & thin sheets so I don't get them right next to each other.
When I'm setting the sheets, I add a tiny extra dollop of thinset at each of the 4 corners of a sheet to make sure it gets good contact.
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Unread 10-04-2006, 01:11 PM   #8
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I have tried a few times to attach the photos and just realise that my jpg file size is too large. Is there any way to decrease the size of a photo file to make it less than 50KB?

Thanks for all the responses; it’s great to hear that the stone pebble tile can be done right, with an experienced tiler taking time.

There is an inspector from the flooring company coming to look at it next week so I'll wait until after his visit to see if we can take some stone out. But I'm not too hopeful since the grout covers 50% of the stone pebble, and it's hard set.

I was also wondering would it be advisable to hire our own inspector, there is an agency here in Calgary who provide independent reports, cost $318 and ten week waiting list. I withheld $2000 on tile contract, paid $6000 ($8000 total), and anticipate needing support to justify not paying the outstanding amount. I am not confident in Floor Company anymore, so not sure if would be good idea for them to do repair anyway so am planning to cut my losses and get another company, with experience, and with my involvement, to redo it.

Thanks to all of you I will try again with the stone pebble tile. The only problem with digging it up as opposed to floating over is the electrical heat pad, laid in coils: imagine it will be destroyed, which is why the option of floating was suggested. Also was not sure if digging out the pebbles in the shower basin would cause more problems than floating over it?
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Unread 10-04-2006, 01:58 PM   #9
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I dont know if you want to hear this, we do custom showers my boss told me so many clients try to go with that stone on there shower floors and he refuses to install it because he told me he used to and after the shower gets used the stone gets very slick and dangerous from the soap and grime, so he makes people go with 2x2 and there are some cool 2x2's out there or 12x12 marble cut down to 6x6s. i personally dont like it that much too much grout seems like it would get very dirty and alot of maintainence. hope i did not upset you.

i love the 2x2 porcelain in my shower its a matter finish and feels good on your feet.

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Unread 10-05-2006, 01:46 PM   #10
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Thanks a million Tilelayher, harsh truth is hard to take for sure but forewarned is forearmed and I do genuinely appreciate hearing about the problems and finding out if there are precautions or solutions. I already experienced first hand that the stone pebble is painful and ugly unless you have a dedicated patient and experienced mosaic tiler to begin with but if it gets slippery after the soap scum builds up I can see how that would be dangerous, and you might have saved me from a fatal fall. Thanks for that.
At last I managed to get one of the photos attached. I had to rotate it to fit into the message but it gives some impression of what our bathroom floor looks at from the door
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Unread 10-05-2006, 04:15 PM   #11
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Looks like a shower floor I did in a Galveston beach house. Wouldn't want to stand on it bare footed for more than five seconds.
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Unread 10-06-2006, 11:26 AM   #12
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Credit due for making it look good though.
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Unread 10-06-2006, 11:45 AM   #13
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Last shower floor we did like this the customer loves it. Say's she gets a foot massage each time she takes a shower.

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Unread 12-21-2006, 10:48 AM   #14
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May I ask: Do you seal the pebbles before grouting? Is there a special sealer that doesn't stop the grout from sticking?
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Unread 12-21-2006, 12:07 PM   #15
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You guys must have reaaallllyyyy tender feet or something, I've done a few pebble shower floors and reckon they're great. Guess it depends how well the individual pebbles are gauged for size and the height of the grout in relation to it. Never found them to be slippery either.

John T - seal the pebbles before laying, stops the grout sticking to the surface, but doesn't seem to interfere with the integrity of the installation. I just use Aquamix.


Last edited by oogabooga; 12-21-2006 at 12:17 PM.
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